Keeping the right side of the law when holding events

Author: Geoff Freeman

Published on: 8 October 2015

Last edition we covered the regulations as to the running of tombolas and raffles at parish events.

A number of people have asked if we can clarify the law on holding occasional events in church, a parish hall or open air.

I am certain that you will have either attended or held an event where alcohol is available.

Wishing to keep within the law, it is often a practise to sell a ticket for perhaps a play or performance stating that the price of the ticket includes the cost of a glass of wine or that the wine is free but a donation would be gratefully received.

Unfortunately in both these cases you are subject to the Licensing Act 2003 that would interpret the above that you are intent on supplying alcohol in return for payment, no matter how well it is disguised!

How to keep legal

If this is a one off event you can apply to your local council for a Temporary Events Notice (TEN), which you need for a:

  • performance of a play or dance
  • exhibition of a film
  • indoor sporting event
  • live and recorded music
  • event where alcohol is sold or supplied
  • event where late night refreshment (hot food or drink) is provided after 11pm

You won’t need a TEN for a performance of a play or dance held between the hours of 8am and 11pm (provided the audience is less than 500) if this is the only licensable activity.

If you wish to have live music you must comply with the conditions of the Live Music Act.

How do I apply?

Apply to your local council and submit your application not more than 9 days or less than 5 before the event. Once received they will process your application and return to you your copy of the TEN which must be available for inspection on the premises.

How much will it cost?

The fee is £21.00 so perhaps that extra cost needs to be built into what you charge for the alcoholic drink. The good news is that the TEN can last over say a weekend of events such as a social event on the Friday, a performance on the Saturday and a concert on the Sunday. As I mentioned last edition, this is a good opportunity for possibly a benefice or a maybe a group of neighbouring parishes to work together on an event and share both the cost and the proceeds based on the number of tickets sold.

In summary, it may look rather complicated but I personally have applied for many such notices and find it a very easy and straightforward.

The author...

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Geoff Freeman

Parish Funding Support Officer

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